Paris — By Andy Hayes on October 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm
Filed under: Eiffel-Tower, featuredarticle2, top-feature

A Day at the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (Travel Guide) is not just a top Paris attraction, but one of the world’s icons of travel and tourism.  Love it or hate it, it’s a must see when in Paris, not only because of the view at the top but because of the unique architectural style of the structure itself.  Opened in 1889, the graceful icon arch at the base of the tower was designed for a World’s Fair that marked the centennial of the French Revolution.  It’s arrival here on the Champ De Mars was met with angst and disgust, as the majority of the French citizens thought it was an eyesore.  Nonetheless, the city gave the tower a 20 year permit, with the intention of tearing it down afterward.  It was war that kept it standing – the top of the tower was a communications base, and thus it was too valuable to remove.  Today, communications are no doubt more satellite based, but the tower still stands, defiant.

The viewing deck at the top isn’t so large that I’d suggest you spend the entire day up there, but I do have some suggestions for you so you can spend an entire day with a Eiffel-themed itinerary.  Ready to see the best of the City of Lights?

Breakfast and your First Glimpse

The best way to start your Eiffel-inspired day is with a classic Parisian breakfast – coffee and a croissant!  Even though you don’t have to climb the stairs of the tower (which is good, as there are around 1,665 of them), you’ll still need the energy! Actually, if you want to dine with a view, your best bet is either to book into one of the many hotels which have tower views (and often their breakfast rooms are on the top floor), or book into a private apartment.  I’ve stayed with friends a few times in Paris, and it’s amazing how many people have that tower out of their window – it seems like it is everywhere!  This is partly due to the fact that Paris does not have that many tall buildings.

The Tower from Above

Once you’re raring to go, head on over and go up.  Of course that’s easier said that done, as you’ll need a ticket which is timed to give you access to the queue to access the elevator to go inside.  Getting into the tower itself can be a huge hassle, an easy way to ruin the entire day.  Here’s some essential info you need to know:

  • Official WebsiteEiffel Tower
  • Cost:  13.10EUR Adult, 11.50EUR Children 12-24, 9.00 Handicapped & Children 4-11
  • Hours: from 9:30am to 11:00pm, January 1 to June 17 and August 29 to December 31; from 9:00am to midnight, June 18 to August 28

NOTE:  Please note that large groups must prebook tickets in advance.  I very highly recommend that everyone take advantage of the new online booking system available on the official website. This is new, so no doubt there are some kinks to be ironed out, but the queues underneath the tower can be maddening so this new service is a godsend.  Just be sure to plan your day as to not miss your reservation time!

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The View from Below

The view from down below is just as lovely.   It’s so nice, in fact, that one famous Parisian novelist said he would spend every morning here just below the tower – because it was the only spot in Paris he couldn’t see it.

You’ll probably want to spend a few minutes down on the grassy knoll in front of the tower – this is where you can create those hysterical pictures of you pushing the tower up or grabbing the tip of it with your fingers. (Or, sit on the turf on your knees and watch the tower sprout from the back of your head.  Hey, it’s your vacation, don’t let me influence you…)

Depending on the weather, the rest of your afternoon has two choices.  If it’s hot out, a dip of the toes in the fountain across the street towards the back of the tower is a must.  It’s a very popular thing to do with the locals – though the one day I was here in the baking heat, several gents stripped down almost completely to take a dip in the fountain.  I’m not so sure you want to go quite that local.

Once you’ve cooled off, a walk around the gardens is enjoyable.  There are museums of course for rainy days – I might suggest the Musée d art moderne de la Ville de Paris (Travel Guide) just across the river.

Sunset

As sunset hits, we’ll head up the hill to the top Champs De Mars for that incredible night-time view of the tower.  This point, across the river, is called the Palais de Chaillot.  If you’re not a walker, then you can take the metro, where you’ll want to exit at Trocadero.   This part is my favourite – except all of those plastic towers and glow-in-the-dark versions of the Eiffel Tower.  If you were wanting a souvenir, though, and you wanted something tacky and hilarious all at once, then this is a casino-like jackpot.  Having said that, there are some very nice paintings available up here as well.

Once you’ve done your shopping, head out to the edge of the Palais and you will quickly see why this is a must.  This view is truly stunning, particularly with the tower’s fantastic light display that seems to make the tower just dance in the night.

End your day on the perfect note – with a glass of wine (with a view, of course) at Cafe De L’homme.  Paris, at its best.

Photo credits:  Al Iannigeoftheref

Tags: Eiffel-Tower, featuredarticle2, top-feature


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